Buck up for barra
  |  First Published: March 2014

There are so many options within the Gladstone region, and all produce great fishing. Larger waterways in the area push up into the fresh where there are healthy populations of barra and mangrove jack to smash your bait or lure.

The barra season has been open for the past month, and a lot of anglers have been out targeting them with plenty of success. Reports have been coming through for all the waterways from Grahams Creek in the north, to Turkey Beach inthe south, with the Boyne River being the standout fishery. Methods used to get on to a few, include live baiting at night around the bridges and casting for the snags and mouths of small creeks and drains with hard/soft bodies 100-150mm at dusk and dawn.

In January, a ABBT tournament was held, while there was doubt on how the dam would fish the competition went ahead. A small field of 25 anglers attended, and all were determined to prove that Awoonga still had plenty of barra and were catchable. There were a number of barra caught, however none come in over the 1m mark. The winning fish were caught in the lower parts of the dam in amongst timber using hardbodied lures with a twitch and pause retrieve.

The wind has been pretty constant and only seems to drop off on the days that I’m at work and blows again at the weekend. The wind does limit my options, as the harbour and mouths of the rivers are out due to being to exposed, so I decided to head up to Pikes Crossing on the Boyne River to check accessibility for watercraft; I hadn’t been up here since they fixed the road up from the floods last year.

If heading upstream, it is more suited to kayaks as the launching spot is pretty rough. A kayak is really all that you would want while fishing this area as there are a few shallow bottlenecks where you have to get out and walk the yak through.

Downstream from Pikes is more suited to a tinny with easier access to launch and the river is a lot wider and deeper. Both upstream and downstream is well sheltered from the wind with its high banks and surrounding bushland. The main targeted fish up here is barra, but there are tarpon and the odd jack as well. Lures are recommended in this area as the catfish are prolific and your bait won’t last long enough for anything else to have a chance.

With autumn now upon us, water temperatures will start to cool and the weather should be more stable. Now is a good time to get out there and get stuck into some barra and jack before they go off the chew in the coming months. I get a lot of my jacks from upper Calliope River in good numbers up until about the start of May. I prefer lures, such as Rapala XR10 and Lively Lure Mad Mullets in the 100mm range.

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